Swimming can be a confusing sport, especially during the first year. Hopefully, the FAQ's below will answer some of the questions you have. If you have a question that is not answered below, please reach out to Dillon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do we need to notify the coach of an upcoming absense?
Yes, we appreciate you letting us know if your swimmer is going to be missing a practice. Either your swimmer can inform their coach in person the practice prior or you can send their coach an email. Of course, the expectation is that the swimmers attend all practices, but we understand when other commitments come up on occasion. As we always tell the swimmers "protect your training time."
What happens if my swimmer is injured?
Unfortunately, injuries happen from time to time. At this age, we believe it is important for athletes to begin developing a sense of pain and injury management. We always want the swimmers to let us know if something is hurting, but generally, we let them decide if they think they can continue the workout for the day. Stiffness/Soreness is great, sharp pain is not! If a swimmer has an apparent injury that does not seem to be healing, we would recommend taking them to either a physio or athletic therapist to get it checked out. Our coaching staff cannot offer medical/physio advice.
What kind of equipment does my swimmer need?
All swim equipment can be purchased at Swimming Matters on Grant Ave. Let the staff know you are from the Bison swim club for a 20% discount. Every swimmer needs a training swimsuit and a pair of goggles. Swim caps are optional. If your swimmer would like a Bison swim cap, please have them ask Craig or Dillon. Bison caps are $10 each (cash or e-transfer). Throughout a normal training week, our swimmers will utilize fins, kickboards, and pull buoys. We have a stock of fins, pull buoys, and kickboards at the pool for the swimmers when needed however, it is recommended they purchase their own pair of fins and pull buoy once they are in the Youth group and above.
Where are swim meets held?
Almost all of the swim meets hosted in Winnipeg will be at the Pan Am Pool, in either the Training Tank (east pool) or the Main Tank (west pool). As your swimmer progresses in the sport, they will begin to travel out of province for swim meets as well.
How long are swim meets? How often are they?
Throughout the swim season (Sept-June) there is generally about one swim meet every 4-6 weeks. Swim meets can range from 1 - 4 days long depending on the level of competition. please visit Swim Manitoba (www.swimmanitoba.mb.ca) to few the swim meet schedule.
Swim meets can be separated into two categories. 1) Invitationals/Generic and 2) Championships. All athletes are welcome to register and compete at invitational/generic swim meets, these meets are general 1-2 days long (typically 2 half days). Championship level meets require qualifications, these meets are generally 3-4 full days long (prelims in the morning, finals in the evening). In other words, swimmers have to swim faster than the qualifying standard in an event. If a swimmer achieves a qualifying standard in 1 event, they are generally allowed to also enter 4-5 Bonus events (i.e. events they are not qualified in) at the championship meet.
There are Championship level meets at all levels, e.g., Junior Provincial (A), Man/Sask (AA), Western Canadian Championships, and National Championships. You can find meet standards HERE.
Does my swimmer have to race at every meet?
The expectation is that the swimmers compete in most of the meets. Missing 1 or 2 meets is acceptable, however, please note that meet attendance is considered when deciding which swimmers to populate the club with for the subsequent season. Also, it is typically possible to enter only a portion of the swim meet sessions for any given meet (e.g., for a meet that runs on Saturday and Sunday morning, it would be possible to enter only the Saturday or only the Sunday).
What are Meet Fees and how do I pay them?
For invitational/generic swim meets, the meet fee is generally on a per-entry basis. I.e. You will pay for each swim that your swimmer races in. Each swim will cost anywhere from $8-12 and generally, your swimmer will race between 4-6 swims per meet.
Championship meets are usually a flat entry fee. I.e. You will pay a single fee to enter the meet, generally, this fee will range from $75-95 depending on the meet.
Meets fees are entered through the front desk system at the UofM and will either be automatically charged to your credit card on file, or you will receive instructions for how to clear the balance online.
Bison Sprint Meet
The Bison Sprint meet is a swim hosted by our club twice per season. Once Short Course, and once Long Course. The expectation is that you volunteer to help run the meet if your swimmer is entered in the meet.
Every swim meet is run by volunteers and it is essential that our club provides volunteers for each meet. You are not required to volunteer every single meet, but the rule of thumb is you should try and volunteer at least one session per swim meet (only the meets your swimmer is entered in). Volunteer roles include timers, safety marshal, heat marshal, clerk of course, and more. In the fall, we will be hosting short training sessions to provide the basics to new parents. For additional information on volunteer opportunities, please contact our officials coordinator, Maxine Wells (email@example.com).
What does SC or LC mean?
Each swim season is split into a Short Course (SC) season and Long Course (LC) season. The short course season runs from approx. September to February and the long course season runs from approx. February to July. During SC, the pool will be 25M long (i.e. a 100M race is 4 lengths total) and during LC, the pool will be 50M long (i.e. a 100M race is 2 lengths total).
Swim Meet Protocol. When to arrive? What to Bring? How does prelims/finals work?
Swimmers should arrive at the competition pool approx. 15 mins before the beginning of warm-up. They should bring a towel (or two), warm clothes (pants, T-shirt, sweater), and, socks/shoes. They should bring a water bottle and a few light snacks (optional). Most swim meets have a warm-up period of 30-60 mins, this allows the swimmers to swim in the competition pool and warm up for their races. After each swim, swimmers will head to the warm-down tank for 5-10 mins of cool down. After their last race, they are free to go home.
Championship meets have Prelims and Finals. Everyone entered/qualified for the meet will race in the Prelim (morning) sessions. Swimmers who rank in the top 18 must return for Finals (evening) session. Of the top 18, the top 8 will be in the "A Final" (championship final), the swimmers ranked 9th-16th will be in the "B Final" (consolation final) and, the swimmers ranked 17th and 18th are alternates (reserves in case of a late scratch).
What do NT, Seed, BONUS, PB, and DQ mean?
NT stands for "No Time". If you see your swimmer in the program and instead of a time, you see "NT", that indicates that they have not raced that particular event before and therefore do not have an entry time.
Seed Time is the time your swimmer is entered with. For example, if at the last meet they swam a PB (personal best time) in 50M free in a time of 41.23, their "seed time" for 50M Free at the next meet will be "41.23".
As mentioned above, a "Bonus" event is one that a swimmer is entered in but not qualified in. For example, if a swimmer qualifies for Man/Sask in only 50M Back, they will be granted the opportunity to also enter 5 additional events that they are not qualified for, these are "bonus" events.
DQ stands for disqualification. There are specific rules that must be followed when swimming each stroke. If your swimmer violates one of those rules, they will be DQ'd. Your swimmer will be DQ'd several times in their swimming career (especially in the year years), this is totally normal. If you are interested in the specific rules, please review the Swim Canada Rule book: https://swimming.ca/content/uploads/2018/05/2017-Rulebook-05-01-18.pdf
How do I know if my swimmer achieved a PB?
Please remember, "personal best times" are only a fraction of what our coaches consider when evaluating a swimmer's performance in competition. Our coaching staff is mainly looking for technical and tactical development as well as competitive composure. A swimmer's final time in a race is a very low-resolution metric to use to evaluate performance. For more on that, please read our Letter to Parents.
Having said that, it is still exciting for both the athletes and their parents to progress via best times! The best way to find your swimmer's true best times is via SwimRanking.net.
The time your swimmer is seeded within the program might NOT be their actual best time. Sometimes swimmers are entered with "conversion times", this is when we use a formula to convert a true SC time to an estimated LC time, or vice-versa (typically it takes swimmers more time to complete the same event LC vs SC as there are fewer walls to push off of). Swimmers can also be entered with "custom times", this is when their coach enters them with a time close to what they think the swimmer can achieve in that particular event (this generally only happens when it's an athlete's first time competing in such event).
What is the Swim MB fee?
The Swim MB fee is a fee that is collected at the beginning of each season. The fee ranges from $60-140 depending on the age of the swimmer. Paying this fee officially registers swimmers with the PSO (Provincial Sport Organization, i.e. Swim MB), and provides liability insurance while competing at swim meets.
What is the Bison-A-Thon?
The Bison-A-Thon is an opportunity for our club to raise funds to help cover coaching expenses during swim meet weekends, both local and out of town.
During the Bison-A-Thon the swimmers will be required to swim for 1 hour straight with an aim of completing as many laps as possible. The minimum donation is $250 per swimmer for athletes in the Junior, Junior Development, and Youth groups and $125 per swimmer for athletes in Bison Racers. There is the option to collect pledges or to buy out the total amount. Tax receipts will be provided for donations larger than $20.00.